What is the impact of the baby cured of H.I.V.?

iStock_000015778315XSmallYou may have read in the news recently about the baby who was deemed cured of H.I.V. (if not, read about it here).

We asked the Pitt Men’s Study medical director, Dr. Ken Ho, what these finding might mean for the rest of us, particularly men in the PMS/MACS. Here is what he had to say:

As exciting as the results are, I don’t see this case having much clinical significance for the men in our study. Simply put, this infant was infected, started on very early treatment, and achieved a “functional cure.” I think it is more proof of concept how early treatment in a young infant can lead to eradication of the latent viral reservoir. Infants and adults are very different from an immunologic standpoint and I suspect have different reservoirs. If you start an adult on early treatment, suppress the viral load, and stop treatment, the virus will almost always ultimately rebound.

So while I believe in early initiation of antiretroviral therapy, it is not because I believe there is a potential for “cure.” If it can be determined that early treatment of perinatally infected infants results in the same outcome as seen here then yes, I believe this will change treatment of perinatally infected infants. But for now, I do not think this will impact clinical management of HIV positive men.

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